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Goodrich’s Woodburn tire plant to get $100 million upgrade

December 12th, 2016

By Kevin Leininger | News-Sentinel

BF Goodrich plans to invest $100 million at its sprawling tire plant near Woodburn. And although the new equipment is not expected to create new jobs, it will protect the 1,600 employees who already work there, according to Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters.

"It certainly ensures the plant's longevity in our community," he said.

According to an application for tax breaks to be considered by Allen County Council Thursday, the 55-year-old plant — the largest single taxpayer in the East Allen County Schools District — would add the equipment through 2020 and would save about $3.5 million in personal property taxes over 10 years if council approves its request. The company would pay $2.34 million in taxes on the equipment during that period.

This would not be the first major upgrade of the plant at 18906 old U.S. 24. Once beset by labor unrest and the possibility of closure, the plant announced a $50 million investment in 2002 in exchange for incentives from the county company officials said were needed to save most of the 1,200 jobs there at the time.

In 2008 the company announced it would invest $53 million in new equipment that was expected to create 60 jobs. The county also granted tax breaks in 2010 in return for $77 million in replacements for decades-old equipment. At the time the plant had about 1,400 employees — the highest since its work force peaked at 1,800 in the early 1980s.

The plant had about $250 million in sales in 2015 after reporting $278 million in sales in 2014 and $263 million in 2013.